Among the Ryder Cup festivities this week has been the world premiere of a film about one of the many ways in which golf can help enrich the lives of people to whom we owe enduring debts of gratitude.
The 53-minute documentary Carrying On takes viewers inside the first Caddie School for Soldiers, held over the course of February, 2019 in Scotland. It was founded by memoirist and novelist Don J. Snyder, who chronicled his efforts to support his son's professional golf ambitions in the 2014 book Walking With Jack. Snyder's main source of funding for his son: caddying in and around St. Andrews.
Carrying On looks at caddying as an act of self-restoration, a step on a lifelong journey of healing. Snyder gathers six veterans - three from the United Kingdom, two from Canada and one from the United States - to receive a month's worth of training from Davy Gilchrist and David Scott, the caddiemaster and pro, respectively, at the Dukes Course at St. Andrews.
Over the course of the documentary, Snyder and director Jon Beer intersperse scenes of the veterans learning the ropes of caddying with interviews about their military experiences. The emotional toll of war is evident, but so is the hope that healing can come through the game of golf.
Snyder, not a veteran himself, keeps coy about his motivations for starting this program until the end of the film, when he tells a family story that connects everything in a moving payoff.
What's the connection between the film and the Ryder Cup? The second session of the program, supported by Kohler, begins October 6 at Whistling Straits, just a couple weeks after the matches conclude.
To learn more about the program, visit caddieschoolforsoldiers.com. You can watch the full documentary here: